In order to lock up a playoff spot Friday, the Goessel High School football team had to defeat Canton-Galva by at least three points.
“I think we covered that spread tonight,” GHS head coach Justin Coup said with a smile.
Goessel defeated Canton-Galva 68-18, to win the Heart of America League eight-man championship, and more importantly, picked up their fifth victory in district play.
The Bluebirds are now 8-0 on the season.
Two plays after receiving a Canton-Galva punt, Austin Unruh crossed the goal line from a yard out and carried in the extra points to take an 8-0 lead.
The Eagles used a deliberate offense, running off-tackle much of the time, but the Bluebirds scored again with Craig Banman going 23 yards up the middle and Cameron Stultz gathering in a pass for the extra points, giving the Bluebirds a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Goessel’s defensive front of Bryant Miller, Nathan Walker, Austin Cooper, and Travis Fensky were keeping the Eagle runners in check.
The Bluebirds faced a second-and-35 for a first down after a fumble and penalty.
Unruh somehow escaped from a tackle in the backfield and launched a long pass that Kendall Voth settled under, giving the Bluebirds a first down.
Voth caught another pass going out of bounds on the one-yard line, as Unruh was able to take the ball across the line on the next play.
He also ran in the extra points, allowing the Bluebirds a 24-0 lead.
Bryant Baldwin then took the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to get the Eagles on the scoreboard for the first time.
With six minutes, 14 seconds to play in the second quarter, Unruh saw Banman sprinting down the right sideline and threw a perfect strike 48 yards for another touchdown.
Fensky caught a pass for the extra points and Goessel led 32-6.
The Eagles ate up more clock on running plays as they advanced down field.
After a timeout, CGHS scored on a screen pass to Baldwin up the middle of the field with 14 seconds left in the half.
Goessel added more points on the board, by taking the kickoff the distance for another score.
Banman caught the ball on the left side of the field, ran to his right, and out-ran the Eagle pursuit picking up one block down field for a 72-yard score.
Unruh carried the ball across for the extra points giving the Bluebirds a 40-12 half-time lead.
An onside kick worked for the Eagles to begin the half, but the Goessel defense held.
With less than two minutes to play in the third quarter, Banman went untouched for a two-yard score.
Again the Bluebirds took advantage of a big gain when Unruh faked a hand-off to Fensky and with a head fake and a downfield block went 53 yards for another Bluebird score.
Fensky carried the ball in for the extra points giving Goessel a 42-point lead.
Baldwin took another kick-off all the way for an Eagle score, and the third quarter ended 54-18.
Banman sparked another drive by the Bluebirds with a run around the right side of the line, but just before going out of bounds, reversed direction and carried the ball to the five-yard line.
Fensky was then able to take the ball across the goal line for a touchdown with Unruh running in the extra points.
The offensive line of Miller, Cooper, and Weston Hiebert were able to open gaps for running plays and gave enough protection for passing plays to be effective.
With 4:04 to play in the fourth quarter, Fensky scored his second touchdown and the game ended 68-18.
Hiebert recorded eight solo tackles to lead the Bluebirds defensively.
In a balanced attack, the Goessel offense gained 226 yards on the ground and 152 yards passing.
“We executed plays well tonight,” senior Unruh said. “There are always areas we can improve on.”
Goessel is 5-0 in District 4 and will be at Pretty Prairie Thursday for the final game of the season.